Billeder på siden

selves up to the inward contemplation of this "light," and holding that he who has the eye most opened is the greatest man," are essentially of a contemplative rather than an active character; and on this account he considers they could not stand against the Mahometan's active efforts to convert them by force of arms; but nevertheless he believes their deep-seated religious prepossessions to have yielded to the converting power of the sword rather outwardly, and to a limited extent, than sincerely and extensively.

Again, Mr. Maurice traces, as a hint to the Christian missionary, the likeness between the leading Brahminical idea of the Brahmin,—— the idea of his being a "twice-born man," and the Christian idea of regeneration; and between the Buddhist idea of the perpetual incarnation of Buddha in the Lama of Tartary, and the incarnation of the Christian Lord, of course insisting on the superiority of the Christian idea in both cases. The remarkable feature of Brahminism or Hindooism is, that its antiquity can be traced three thousand years! while of Buddhism it is stated that its votaries consist at present of not less than three hundred millions of souls! And all these are idolaters of the Grand Lama of Tartary, a miserable mortal! *

Mahometanism, the writer of this article ventures to surmise, especially as to its practical principle, which places obedience to one Divine Person or God in the first place, and leaving out the sensualities allowed by it, may be called the Unitarianism of the East; while Hindooism, because it holds that the Brahmins are a priestly caste, an exclusively spiritual race, and regards all the other Hindoos, called Sudras, as a despised caste,-a merely animal race, may be viewed as the Calvinism of the East: the Buddhists, on the contrary, rejecting the doctrine of caste, and affirming that all may attain "the light," may be regarded as the Arminians or Wesleyans of the East. Each of the three, in fact, being a type of a distinct radical tendency of the human mind, (injurious only in its abuse or

* The Lama of Tartary is a temporal sovereign, as well as the supposed incarnation of Buddha. When he dies his priests look out for an infant, as the new incarnation of Buddha, pretending they have the means of certainly discovering his identity with their god; when discovered, he is brought to the temple of the Lama, and ever after treated with divine honours. Mr. Maurice mentions that when Warren Hastings was governor of India, the Grand Lama sent to him for advice and assistance in the management of his disorderly subjects. The governor accordingly despatched a gentleman, who, on arriving at Thibet, found the old Lama had died, and he was formally introduced to the new one, an infant, in his place!

[blocks in formation]

perversion) which, in our country, is seen exemplified in Unitarianism, theological and moral, and Calvinism with its election, and Arminianism with its free-will.

It is not intended here to cite, or extensively to refer to, the particular views of Mr. Maurice, or his able delineations and comparisons of the characteristics of the existing and defunct religions, but the following passage may probably prove interesting; and after citing it, the contributor of this paper will venture on a speculation suggested during his reading of Mr. Maurice's generally interesting production. No doubt the more essential principles of the Oriental systems are the most likely to have maintained their original stamp ; these, therefore, are more worthy of being made a basis for speculation than the derivations, or later inventions, which probably were added from time to time, and which therefore will not be noticed. The following remarks close the last lecture :

"You say, 'Try your Christianity upon the cotton-spinners of Manchester, upon the hardware men of Birmingham; if it fails with them, do you expect it will succeed in Persia and Thibet?' But we know it will fail, it must fail in Birmingham and Manchester, if it addresses the people in those places as spinners and workers in hardware. This has just been the mistake we have made. We have looked upon these 'hands' as created to work for us; we have asked for a religion which should keep the 'hands' in the state in which they will do most work and give the least trouble. But it is found that they are men who use these 'hands,' and that which is a religion for hands,' is not one for men. Therefore it becomes more evident every day that there is a demand in Manchester and Birmingham for that which, till we understand human beings better, we cannot supply. To acquire that understanding we need not grudge a journey to Persia or Thibet; we need not think it an idle task to inquire what the people [in the East] want, who are not called to spin cotton or work in hardware, but who are creatures of the same kind with those [in this country] who do. When thoughtful men say that a working age of the world is about to begin, they mean, I suppose, an age in which those essential qualities of humanity which belong to working men as much as to all others, shall be more prized than the accidents by which one class is separated from another. Most important, then, is it to ascertain whether we are holding à faith which addresses us as members of a class,—a class of fine gentlemen, philosophers, divines, or any other; or one which addresses us AS MEN, which explains the problems of our human life. * If our condition is different from that of men two centuries back, the difference is this: we are come nearer to the great crisis of all controversies; there is less power of hiding ourselves from realities amidst shadows and appearances. Thanks be to God that such a time is come, terrible as it may be to many, nay, to all of us! For this is the time which will shew that His truth is not of man, neither by man; but that it is for man, here and every where. Only then when "the grass withereth, and the flower fadeth,”. -so speaks individual experience, so speaks ths voice of history,- is it known assuredly that the Word of our God shall stand for ever."

* *

The speculation anticipated above is the following:

In the beginning, or on the creation of man, there existed three objects of human contemplation, as presented to man by Divine Revelation. 1. God, the Agent and Source of life. 2. Man, as to his internal man. 3. Man, as to his external man; the second and third being by birth diverse recipients of life, intended to become in the world, by the Divine Operation upon them, one recipient, in which the two previously diverse receptacles are harmonized, thus forming together the regenerate man or angel. That the two recipients named are essentially diverse appears from this, that the internal man may be closed up, but its celestial and spiritual principles cannot be destroyed by perversion; while the external man cannot be closed up, it must be opened by worldly things, and it has been destroyed by perversion. Two objects so widely different, but intended to be harmonized through individual coöperation, must, of necessity, have been required to be kept most distinctly in view as to the exact and distinctive nature of each, and the capability of each for union with the other, and the conditions of that union. And if we glance at the beginning of Genesis, we find nothing more prominent than these three objects:-1. God, the Invisible Jehovah, the Creator, spiritually the new-Creator or Regenerator. 2. The tree of life, spiritually, the life of the internal man ruling. 3. The tree of knowledge of good and evil, spiritually, the life of the external man ruling. Wherefore it was allowed to eat of the tree of life, but not of the tree of knowledge.

Now we are instructed by Swedenborg that all the ancient mythologies originated in, and are modifications, and in part perversions, of the representative lessons of ancient wisdom cultivated at the later periods of the Most Ancient Church. A striking confirmation of the common origin of the mythologies is presented in the works of the eminent Sir William Jones, who arrived at the conclusion that the heathen systems of India, Greece, and Rome, had one common origin, as discernible from the similarity of their features or representations.

If, then, we find the above-named three spiritual objects so strikingly symbolised in our own Holy Word, how natural the conclusion, that we may expect to find a similar prominence given to them in the mythologies framed in imitation of the symbolic records of the ancient Church. Let us see whether the leading ideas of the great oriental religions present the resemblance suggested, first remarking, that as they were later compositions than the record

in Genesis, and as the external had since that record become debased, and the serpent (the sensual principle) so submissive before the fall, had become a destructive dragon, the representation will necessarily be descriptive of this fact.

We have adverted already to the representation in the Book of Genesis, and have pleasure in referring to the opinion of M. Coquirel, the eminent Protestant minister at Paris, that the belief (we presume on the Continent) is becoming universal, that the two trees are not literal but allegorical trees. (The reader will find this opinion cited at page 127 of the Rev. E. Madeley's work on Correspondences, recently published.)

In the prophet Ezekiel, the internal man opened, is symbolised by a living heart of flesh; and the fallen external superseded by the internal, is symbolised by a heart of stone.

In the Christian records of the New Testament, there are presented to us:-1. God, the Jehovah of the Old Testament made visible as Jesus Christ, the Creator thus become the Restorer of man generally and individually, and therefore called the Redeemer and Saviour of mankind. 2. The internal man is symbolised to us by the Lord, as the good treasure of the heart; treasure in heaven, and its opening as about to take place, is announced as the good tidings of the kingdom of God being at hand: and it is described as the kingdom of heaven within us. The apostle Paul mentions the internal man as "the spirit" in man, also as the law of God in the mind, the spiritual man, the inner and inward man, &c. 3. The fallen external man is mentioned under the figure of the evil treasure of the heart; treasure on earth which corrupts. Paul calls it the flesh in which dwelleth no good thing, the law of sin in the members, the natural man, the outward man, &c.

In the Hindoo system we have-1. Brahm, the Light; and Brahma, the Light (Brahm), the hidden essence going into action; the light flowing from the source of light. 2. Vishnu, the Preserver, the emblem of the internal man, of which Paul says, "The spirit is life because of righteousness;" life to the body (the external man), which otherwise is dead because of sin. "To be spiritually-minded is life and peace." 3. Sheeva, the Destroyer, the emblem of the fallen external, of which it is said by the apostle, "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die. To be carnally minded is death." Obviously there is nothing in or of man of a preservative character (in the hand of his Divine Saviour) but what is of his internal man. All his external by nature prompts him to the destruction in himself of all the

elements of happiness. "The foes of a man are they of his own household."

The system of Buddha seems to have been a system professedly reformed, aud so far derived from that of Brahm, and therefore of later date of course. In this system we have-1. Buddha, the pure Intelligence: whether this means an intelligence distinct from man, or pantheistically united with him, seems not to be determined. 2. The internal man seems to be symbolised by Sanga, called the mediating influence uniting the pure Intelligence to matter. And how evident it is that the "spirit of man" is that medium by which the Divine is conjoined with the flesh; in other words, by means of the internal man, the Divine Proceeding is brought into conjunction with the external. 3. The external man terminating in the body seems to be symbolised by Dharma, the principle of matter.

In the ancient Persian system, taught by Zoroaster, or Zerdusht, we have-1. Ormuzd, the Lord of Light. 2. The internal man, as receptive of this light, seems to be symbolised by Ormuzd as the Zendavesta, or living word, speaking to the hearts of men, leading them to justice and order. This is the same principle as David addresses, saying, "Bless the Lord, O my soul!" the principle to which we refer inwardly for guidance, as a part of ourselves, yet from God and under God. 3. The fallen external man appears to be symbolised by Ahriman, the Prince of Darkness, teaching the worship of visible things. How strikingly does this shadow forth the presence of Satan-the powers of darkness, in the fallen natural mind, leading it to put the creature in the place of the Creator!

Granting that the mythologies had an allegorical origin, what subjects could be more suitably involved in them than God in his relation to man, that is, to his internal and external man respectively? As to the common notion that the mythologies had no other origin than the froth of impure imaginations, it is ridiculous to suppose that anything so completely ephemeral could endure human scrutiny for 3000 years. And in regard to this number of years, it is a little remarkable, that Belzoni affirms that the human remains he found at Thebes, had been buried in the belief that after 3000 years they would rise again. When this 3000 years expired, is possibly not known!

W. M.

« ForrigeFortsæt »